Neighbor accused of killing LISD teacher won’t be indicted

Adam Ladner, who taught at River Ridge Elementary from 2009 – 2015, was killed by his neighbor during an altercation on Jan. 26.

By JOSH MONIZ, Hill Country News 

The Cedar Park man accused of shooting and killing a Leander ISD science teacher and girls soccer coach will not be indicted after receiving a no-bill decision by a grand jury. 

Larry Wayne Smith, 64, was accused of killing his neighbor, 41-year old Running Brushy Middle School teacher Adam Ladner, during a Jan. 26, 2019, altercation over a noise complaint, according to the affidavit filed by Cedar Park Police.

Smith reportedly called police for a noise complaint against Ladner, according to the affidavit, and police responded to the call and left just 8 minutes before the shooting. 

They argued over the complaint, which became a physical altercation at some point, according to the affidavit, and Smith said Ladner had become violent with him.

The court documents indicate Smith shot Ladner during the altercation.

Ladner, who taught at River Ridge Elementary from 2009 – 2015, was found dead from multiple gunshot wounds on Smith’s property when police officers arrived at the scene.

Smith’s lawyer Kurt Glass released a statement on Friday, Aug. 30 following the no-bill decision, stating “Larry Smith acted in self-defense which is something that we’ve always known. This matter was presented to the Williamson County grand jury yesterday and they returned the only verdict that they could. The system has once again worked. We ask that everyone respect the decision of the grand jury.”

Glass has argued Smith’s booking photo show he had no other choice in this situation but to defend himself.

Ladner’s family also released a statement about the decision, stating, “Adam’s family and friends are devastated to hear that Larry Smith will not face criminal charges for his tragic and unnecessary actions that robbed us of a wonderful son, brother, father, friend, cousin, nephew, uncle, coach and true love. We, however, still believe God is good and above all, we encourage everyone to love their neighbor.”

Ladner started with Leander ISD in the 2007-2008 school year at Plain Elementary. After a year teaching in Plano ISD, Ladner returned to Leander ISD in the 2009-10 school year at Steiner’s RRE, where he remained through the 2014-2015 school year. After spending a year at Cox Elementary, Ladner moved to Running Brushy Middle School. He taught science and physical education, coaching cross country, girls basketball and most recently volleyball and soccer.

Larry Wayne Smith (L), 64, was arrested after police say he shot and killed his neighbor, Adam Ladner, in a dispute that started as a noise complaint.